208 NATIONAL GUILDS
sentiment which rightly makes society responsible
for the subsistence of all those born under its
wing; but it is not part of the scheme of the
Such are a few of the weaknesses involved by the
theoretical basis on which Guild Socialism is built.
When we come to its practical application we find
the creed still more unsatisfactory. Even if we
grant—an enormous and quite unjustified assump-
tion—that the Guildsman, if he is to be paid merely
for being alive, will work hard enough to pay the
community for paying him, we have then to ask how
and whether he will achieve greater freedom under
the Guilds than he has now. Now, freedom is only
to be got by work of a kind that somebody wants,
and wants enough to pay for it. And so the con-
sumer ultimately decides what work shall be done.
The Guildsman says that the producer ought to
decide what he shall produce and what is to be done
with it when he has produced it. " Under Guild
Socialism/' says Mr Cole,* " as under Syndicalism,
the State stands apart from production, and the
worker is placed in control/' Very well, but what
one wants to know is what will happen if the Guilds
choose to produce things that nobody wants. Will
they and their members be paid all the same ?
Presumably, since they are to be paid " as human
beings " and not because there is a demand for their
work. But if so, what will happen to the Guildsman
as consumer ? There will be no freedom about his
choice of things that he would like to enjoy. And
* " The Meaning of Industrial Freedom," page 39.